Picture of the Week #35

What is this?  This is happiness!  Oh, childhood is such a magical time of life.  Seen here are all smiles after I showed them their digital picture on my camera.  [Sawarne village, Maharashtra, India]

Picture of the Week #34

Just another day...  [Dhawale village, Maharashtra, India]

Picture of the Week #33

Life is not easy for these pretty young girls.  [Dhawale village, Maharashtra, India]

Picture of the Week #32

As you can see, this place is truly romantic.  Many couples come here for a romantic getaway.  I would love to come here again some day... [Tonle Bati lake, Cambodia]

Movie Movies Movies - Part 2

Updated: April 6th, 2010

I have watched several movies in the last six months and thought I would post reviews on the ones that I enjoyed watching.  In case you didn't know, I love watching movies!


Avatar (2009)
- There aren't many movies that can live up to the hype, but this is one of them.  The movie is a seamless blend of reality and fantasy... of mythology and technology... of science and magic.  The characters are well-developed, the world is vivid and rich with imagination, and the plot is unique with a fairytale ending - I wouldn't have liked it any other way.

If you haven't seen this movie yet, then what are you waiting for?  This movie is the reason why movie theaters were invented!

Being Cyrus (2005)
- This is actually a Bollywood movie that is entirely in English - a bit strange that is.  Anyhow, it's a well made thriller movie without any obvious loop holes.  Watch it on a Friday night.

Casualties of War (1989)
- This is a war movie and I like war movies.  It's based on events that happened during the Vietnam War (or the 'American War' as it is known in Vietnam).  It's a story of how American soldiers kidnapped a young Vietnamese girl and gang-rape her during a long "mission".  Only one man dares to fight (Michael J. Fox) and give justice to the victim.  But does one man stand a chance against the "system"?  Watch and find out.  They say all is fair in love and war...

Flawless (2007)
- In the mood for a heist movie without the accompanying gore and violence?  This movie shows how an old man steals millions of dollars worth of diamonds from an ultra-secure storage facility without shedding a drop of blood.  Good watch.

Gorillas in the Mist (1988)
- This is an interesting semi-biography movie on the life of Dian Fossey who dedicated her life for the conservation of mountain gorillas in Rwanda.  If there are still gorillas in Rwanda, it's due to her conservation efforts.  Today, the government of Rwanda charges US$500/person to wild-life enthusiasts who wish to spend an hour with the endangered gorillas.

Paranormal Activity (2009)
- I still get the chills down my spine when I think of this movie.  It is, hands down, the scariest movie I have ever seen.  Horror movies don't normally scare me but this one did.  Probably because I watched it in the theater.  Patience is required to watch this one since the story is built up very slowly.  If you can survive the first 30 or so minutes (I almost didn't!), you will enjoy it.  Don't watch it alone or with children!

Sometimes In April (2005)
- I watched Sometimes in April... in April 2010.  It's not a family movie.  It's not a popcorn flick.  It's not a date movie.  It's very real.  Whatever is shown has really happened.  And it's horrible.  The movie is about the genocide that happened in Rwanda in 1994.  Nearly a million... a million people were killed in only 3 months... from April to June.  How many people even know about it?  The world didn't care, because as an American government official said, it was "Rwandans killing Rwandans".

Men, women and children were killed indiscriminately with AK-47s, machetes and Uzzis.  Weapons were supplied by the United States, Germany, France, Belgium, Israel and China.  Even after the killings started, the so-called "civilized world" did nothing to stop it.  Why?  Because there was no oil or gold or diamonds in Rwanda.  The US even denied that genocide was happening in Rwanda, but later "apologized" for it.

I highly recommend this movie.  Everyone should watch it.  It's important to understand.  Never again should this happen.

Tears of the Sun (2003)
- This is a 'save the damsel in distress' movie set in the jungles of Nigeria.  The armed rebel violence that has engulfed Nigeria is shown quite accurately.  The methods used by the militia to kill and maim people are quite gruesome.  It really happened.  It's a good movie to watch if one wants to get a quick history lesson on Nigeria - Hollywood style.

There Will Be Blood (2007)
- Most people probably haven't heard of this one.  It's an art flick about an "oil man" who makes a fortune in the very early days of the oil industry.  It's about greed, religion, politics and family.  It's a great movie that drives home the point that behind every great fortune is a great crime, and that crime doesn't pay.  Don't watch it if you don't enjoy art movies.

Training Day (2001)
- I can't believe I had missed this gem.  Set in the City of Angels (Los Angeles), this is an excellent movie on police, gangs and double crossings.  To live and die in LA, it's the place to be...

Up in the Air (2009)
- I think this is a masterpiece.  It's about a man whose job is to fly all over the country and inform people their services are no longer required to the company they work for.  It's certainly not an easy job.  I have matured as a movie watcher and like meaningful cinema with a good message - and this is one of them.  Some memorable quotes:

"Let me get up.  Let me get out.  Let me find something... my kids are my purpose... my family."

"It's not all about the money.  Money can keep you warm, pays your heating bills.  It can buy you a blanket.  But it doesn't keep you as warm as the support that my husband gives me."


3 Idiots (2009)
- I don't think this movie needs "another review".  Everyone has watched it by now.  Some things don't make sense, especially towards the end - but who cares?  It's still an entertaining movie.  The movie sort of makes fun of the Indian education system and it's many flaws.  Ragging is shown as comic relief, however, in reality, it is a disgusting culture in Indian colleges.  Instead of helping freshers, the senior students are too busy making their life miserable to the extent that some freshers even commit suicide.  The movie does not really touch on Indian History, which is probably the most manipulated in the world; first by the British and now by our own government to appease the minorities.

Probably the biggest flaw in the movie is the message it conveys in the end (which runs counter to the message it tries to convey earlier), which is, "you are not successful unless you become rich".  I thought it was totally unnecessary to show that.  Nevertheless, Aamir Khan won't disappoint you (as always).

Jail (2009)
- I had high expectations from this movie seeing as it was made by Madhur Bhandarkar.  It's a well made movie and an entertaining one, but doesn't quite live up to the mark of his previous films (especially Page 3 and Chandni Bar).  The Indian Justice system is one of the slowest in the world and the film shows this quite accurately.  It's easy to imagine oneself to be the main character as what happens to him can happen to anybody.

Rocket Singh (2009)
- The movie is about a recent college grad, who barely manages to pass, who wants to become a salesman.  Generally speaking, in India, those who don't get any other job go into sales.  There aren't many movies on this topic so it was a welcome change.  Many people have cribbed on Ranbir Kapoor's acting skills (or lack of), but I think he did a good job.  A very intelligent friend of mine in Mumbai who is in the same profession said the movie quite accurately depicts the general atmosphere and people in a sales firm.  Although it flopped in the theaters, I thought the movie was quite entertaining with a good message.

Wake Up Sid (2009)
- There are many movies on the topic of "coming of age" and this is another one. Does one really get tired of watching such movies?  Not really.  Ranbir Kapoor has acted well in this and suits the role.  Most people will be able to relate to the main character (maybe not to that degree) since we all have to go through the phase of "finding oneself".  The best part is, unlike real life, the movie actually has a happy ending.  This is a good weekend movie.


Harishchandrachi Factory (2009)
- I watched this one during my last trip to India.  Frankly speaking, because so many things were going on in my mind, I did not really understand the movie - especially the first half.  However, I started getting into it in the latter half.  It's a well-made movie that shows the birth of the film industry in India.  This movie was sent to the Oscars but I think there were other better ones that could have been sent.  This is a good history movie and should be shown to school children.

Natarang (2010)
- This is a good movie on an off-beat topic.  One can now say that Marathi film industry has blossomed.  The soundtrack is excellent and hats-off to Atul Kulkarni for his hard-work and acting.  Natarang Ubha, Apsara Aali and Khel Mandala are some of the great songs from the movie.  Sonali Kulkarni who plays the character of Naina Kolhapurkar has also acted well and looks very beautiful.


Cidade de Deus (2002, Spanish) - English Title: "City of God"
- This movie is highly rated on imdb.com, so I decided to check it out.  It's about gangsters in a neglected Brazilian town.  Although it's a good movie that's worth a watch, I've seen better movies on gangsters, such as Vaastav.

Related Post: Movies Movies Movies

Picture of the Week #31

The bandaged iconic Taj Mahal Hotel nursing wounds caused by India's friendly neighbourhood Pakistanis.